14 Underrated Attractions in Phuket to See, Explore, and Eat at

Unique Experiences in Phuket: What to See, Do, and Eat

Phuket: A socially distanced beach vacation with Michelin restaurants and quiet islands.

Welcome to Phuket: home to incredible beaches, an exciting party scene, and Michelin restaurants! Surprisingly, this island destination boasts one underrated attraction after another, which most might not be aware of. We’re talking local towns, the quieter islands and beaches, and its myriad of delectable cuisine! 

Read on to discover which underrated attractions you should add to your Phuket itinerary; trust us, you’re in for an adventure unlike any other! Most importantly, since these attractions receive fewer crowds, you can expect a socially distanced getaway — certainly a priority for many of us now. 

Also read: 10 Unique Things to Do in Phuket for a Beach Vacay Unlike Any Other

Craving an adventure to Thailand’s beach paradise? Get the full rundown on the Phuket Sandbox!

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Indulge in a treat for your senses with these picturesque sights

1. Wander through Old Phuket Town

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Thailand’s largest island at the underrated attraction of Old Phuket Town! Lined with brightly-hued buildings, fairy lights strung across the road, and alleyways of vibrant murals, every corner of Old Phuket Town makes for the perfect photo op. 

old phuket town

Image credit: Thae Jirapon

You might not know this, but the colourful buildings are actually Sino-Portugese townhouses that have been repurposed into shops! Take a closer look and you’ll find a slew of businesses, from a traditional teahouse and a batik fabric store to an artisanal ice cream shop. This area has really mastered the perfect blend of traditional and modern! 

2. Bask in sunset views at Nai Harn Beach

underrated attraction in phuket

Image credit: Skystorm via Canva Pro

A quiet district in the southern region, Nai Harn Beach is your casual village boasting a slightly hippy vibe. This underrated attraction in Phuket is surrounded by lakeside hotels, restaurants specialising in local cuisine, and shops selling Thai crafts.

nai harn beach phuket

Image credit: Netfalls via Canva Pro

Thus, whether you’re jogging through Ko Klang Nam Ban Naihan Park to feel the serenity of Naihan Lake or strolling down Nai Harn Beach and feeling the warm sand against your feet, this area is perfect for basking in Phuket’s beachfront views without the crowd. 

3. Enjoy a quiet respite at Nai Yang Beach

nai yang beach near phuket airport

Image credit: Andy Mitchell

Craving a moment of relaxation by Phuket’s warm sand and clear blue waters before your flight home? Then head on over to Nai Yang Beach, located just a stone’s throw away from Phuket International Airport! As one of the quieter beaches on the island, this underrated attraction in Phuket will certainly provide you with a tranquil respite, making it the perfect end to your vacation. 

It’s also suitable for swimming and snorkelling if you’d like to squeeze in a last-minute soak! Fun fact: Nai Yang is located just further down from Mai Khao Beach; these two beaches combine to form the longest coastline on the island. 

4. Walk along the Phuket Yacht Haven Marina

For a true adventure into the outskirts of Phuket, head over to the Phuket Yacht Haven Marina, located on the northeastern tip of the island. Stroll along the marina and enjoy an uninterrupted view of docked yachts in the Andaman Sea under clear skies. 

If you’re feeling hungry, simply choose from some of the restaurants at the marina! Tuck into some delectable fresh seafood or Turkish barbeque while basking in the scenic panorama before you. 

P.S. — It’s best to come here at sunset. The strawberry pink glow of the sunset makes for an amazing photo op. Also, since the marina is located near the airport, why not make a stopover here before your flight back home? 

Fill up your itinerary with thrilling local experiences

5. Dive into local culture at Lon Island

koh lon quiet islands in phuket

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Yearning for a day trip to an island but want it to be socially distanced? Look no further than Lon Island! Also known as Koh Lon, this underrated attraction is Phuket’s largest offshore island. A tranquil island boasting hilly inlands and flat beaches, Koh Lon certainly offers a different experience from more populated and touristy spots like Coral Island. While you’re here, get a rare glimpse into the local lifestyle of the island’s inhabitants — the Muslim community. 

At only 3km long and 800m wide, it won’t take you too long to explore the island. You might even get to witness some day-to-day activities like fishing and working on rubber trees and coconut plantations. 

quiet islands in phuket

Image credit: Pantera Poupee

Thus, Lon Island is truly a getaway that’s unlike any other island on Phuket. An isolated oasis free from disturbance, venturing here is sure to rejuvenate all your senses. Best of all, it’s only 15 minutes away from Chalong Bay Pier

Also read: 7 Little-Known Islands Easily Reached from Phuket

6. Refresh your senses at Bang Pae Waterfall

bang pae waterfall

Image credit: Jeff Gunn

Situated in the middle of a rainforest is the majestic and calming Bang Pae Waterfall. It’s an easy trek from the main jungle to get there; what’s more, these bodies of water are open for the public to take a dip in! With the calming sounds of the waterfall cascading down and the refreshing waters beneath, this underrated attraction in Phuket is a great place to venture to if you want to escape the throng of crowds. 

7. Surf with a view at Kalim Beach

kalim beach

Image credit: Ivan Ragozin

Located north of Patong Beach is the quieter and scenic Kalim Beach! If you’re thinking of swimming, we’d recommend skipping this spot; however, the strong waves make this underrated attraction in Phuket perfect for surfing! 

Alternatively, if you’d wish to stay dry instead, there are many street food vendors selling affordable and delicious local bites nearby! Enjoy your bite or two by the beach, and revel in the warm orange glows of the sunset fading over the horizon. 

8. Practise your bartending skills at Chalong Bay Rum Distillery & Bar

Is your favourite cocktail either a Piña colada or a Mojito? Then why not learn all about how rum is made? Dive into a cocktail workshop to learn basic bartending techniques from a mixologist over at Chalong Bay Rum Distillery & Bar

After you’ve made your cocktails, it’s time to embark on a distillery tour. Gain insight into how their award-winning rum is crafted from sustainably grown Thai sugarcane — all the way to how each bottle is lovingly prepared by hand. 

End of your workshop with some tapas, prepared by onsite chefs. After all, there’s no better way to unwind than with some delicious bites and cocktails, hand in hand. 

9. Stand on top of the world at Black Rock Viewpoint

black rock viewpoint

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Located to the south of Nai Harn Beach is Black Rock Viewpoint. Trek 1.5km uphill and be treated to some spectacular and panoramic views of Krabi, Phi Phi Islands, Racha Islands. Visitors have suggested climbing either in the early morning when the air is cool, or in the evening when the sun is setting. 

Either way, since Black Rock Viewpoint experiences fewer crowds, this underrated attraction in Phuket makes a worthy addition to your itinerary if you crave an adventure that’s both safe and rewarding. 

Whet your appetite with delectable local cuisine at Phuket’s Michelin restaurants

10. Dig into classic southern Thai homemade food at Kin Kub Ei

Meaning ‘eating with auntie’, Kin Kub Ei is a Thai restaurant hidden away from the main road. Be treated to some delicious southern dishes prepared by Khun Tubtim (the poster lady of the restaurant) at this underrated attraction in Phuket. Diners get to indulge in some delectable family recipe dishes in a beautiful garden, making your meal a timeless and unpretentious classic that’s one of the yummiest on the island.

And, they’ve even got the awards to prove this; with food that’s a delicious treat for your taste buds and wallet (i.e. it’s super affordable), Kin Kub Ei has received a ‘Michelin Bib Gourmand’ from the Phuket Michelin Guide! However, make sure to plan in advance if you want to dine here. Besides only opening three days a week, reservations are required (i.e. no walk-ins are allowed). 

Kin Kub Ei prides itself in homestyle southern Thai cuisine with a blend of Hakka influences. Not only are menu items seasonal, the southern influence means that some dishes can be spicy or include ingredients not familiar to many. Thus, we simply suggest going with the flow and remaining open-minded. Anyway, that’s what travelling and being adventurous is all about: You might discover new culinary horizons that are surprisingly yummy too.  

11. Dine amidst a picturesque backdrop at Suay Restaurant Cherngtalay

An acronym for sassy, unique, authentic, and yummy, Suay Restaurant Cherngtalay achieves this both in their food and ambience. Patrons can dine indoors, where teak furniture rests on a Portugese-tiled floor. Capture some Instagram-worthy photos within the bright interior, as natural light streams in through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. 

Prefer to dine al fresco amidst the warm Phuket air? You’ll be happy to know that the outdoor terrace is adorned with a field of plants and fairy lights strung above, lending the al fresco area a picturesque backdrop for your dining experience. 

If you’re unsure of what to order, ask owner-chef Tammasak’s recommendations! They serve up Thai food prepared with modern techniques, plated in an eye-catching manner to add delectible colour to your Instagram feed. Therefore, regardless of what you order, expect to be treated to Michelin rated food that is both a treat for your eyes and taste buds!

12. Indulge in a fresh catch of the day at Ta Tuay Restaurant

ta tuay restaurant

Image credit (L-R): limene; pal.lm

If you’re venturing far north of Phuket, head over to Ta Tuay Restaurant to fill up your tummy! Located by a fishing pier — Tha Chatchai Pier — it’s no surprise that this Michelin restaurant serves up a multitude of freshly cooked seafood! Whether it’s your simple fish and shellfish, or something unique like sand worms or local giant cockles, indulge in the comfort that this spot offers some of the best seafood in Phuket. 

The first thing you might notice at this friendly neighborhood restaurant is the ceiling; constructed from corrugated iron roofs, it’s truly a village style of dining! The al fresco area is set in a tropical garden with water features, making for a calming and laid back dining experience. 

13. Tuck into authentic Peranakan cuisine at The Charm Dining Gallery

Traipsing through Old Phuket Town and feeling hungry? Stop at The Charm Dining Gallery for some fuel! Set in a Peranakan shophouse, step into a Michelin restaurant that conserves this heritage. Admire the antique decor from the floor and walls, to the windows and furniture! 

Young owner Buriphat has curated a menu serving Thai-Peranakan food since 2018. With carefully selected ingredients prepared using traditional methods, authentic flavours of Peranakan cuisine are preserved. For instance, try their Penang-style fish curry for the familiar flavours of tangy and spicy. Other menu items include intense and sophisticated shrimp paste with poached shrimp meat. 

14. Feast on mouth-watering Thai cuisine in the grand Tu Kab Khao

Also further down from Old Phuket Town is the elegant Tu Kab Khao! Set in a grand Chino-Portugese building, this Michelin restaurant boasts opulent interiors, with lavish blue seats, chandeliers, marble tables, and portraits of the Royal Family gracing its walls. 

With authentic Portugese-inspired Thai food on its menu using only ingredients of the highest quality, indulge in some of their best sellers. For instance, their subtly spiced crab curry with rice vermicelli is rich in both seafood flavour and spice, making for a delicious and comforting meal. 

Feeling hungry at the prospect of dining on affordable Michelin meals all day? Get information on the Phuket Sandbox before you embark on your island vacation!

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underrated attraction in phuket

Image credit: Akash Rai

To sum up, whether it’s the picturesque sights, the enriching activities, or the local Michelin cuisine, it all boils down to Phuket’s underrated attractions. These places and experiences in Phuket truly allow you to make the most of your holiday! Thus, if you’re craving a socially distanced getaway, look no further than the Pearl of the Andaman Sea. 

Brought to you by Tourism Authority of Thailand Singapore Office.

About Author

Cassandra Nerva
Cassandra Nerva

Cassandra seeks comfort in warm blankets, period dramas, and all things hazelnut. If she's not getting carried away with a wartime novel or decorating her house with plants & fairy lights, she's uncovering hidden gems around her as she continues to embrace her keen sense of adventure.